Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Florida Panhandle

Jan 25
This morning is our 3rd day at Ft. Andrews, a lovely state park near Panama City. Our motor coach is parked on the bay side, and the boys camped out in the tent last night after our campfire. Robby and Will are working on their Boy Scout merit badge for camping. Feels like summer again! The boys discovered many hermit crabs in the bay, so they’re out digging with spatulas and shovels, filling up their buckets!
We drove less than a mile yesterday to enjoy the surf of the Gulf of Mexico on the other side of this peninsula. The boys went out on boogie boards and our red kayak, braving the waves. Thom and I opted to stay out of the chilly water, playing lifeguards from the comfort of our beach chairs. Once again, we enjoyed a romantic sunset over the Gulf.

The boys are now taking Calvert Test 80, and have been putting in many hours at school. Lately, we’ve been doing about 7 hours a day. We’re very familiar now with the expectations of homeschooling. The Calvert curriculum is challenging and detailed. Once each boy finishes a subject, he moves right along to the next, so he’s always learning. This is different compared with their traditional classroom schooling. In the classroom, the teacher can’t move on until all the students get through the material (or the bell rings). So I think our boys were used to a certain amount of time for repeated lessons or “rest”. Now, they’re constantly working on new material, with reviews every 10 lessons. Probably the biggest improvement we see is in their writing skills. There is more time for teaching one on one, which shows in their compositions. Sam is learning cursive writing, and he too is writing more each day.

Today we’ll head east, and then south in search of manatees. We’ve been told they can be seen swimming in the rivers north of the Tampa area. We have one week before it’s time for Disney World! That’s another good reason to get as much school done now as possible.

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